Undefeated Union boys go to state as top seed


Final weekend of bi-district and district play is capped by the release of state brackets

The state regional brackets are out, and three games featuring Clark County teams will be played right here in Clark County.

The Union boys will play a seeding game for the Tacoma Dome at 2 p.m. Saturday to begin a tripleheader at Battle Ground High School. The Skyview boys will play an elimination game at 4 p.m. and the La Center boys will play an elimination game at 6 p.m.  

The Union Titans are 24-0 heading into the state tournament. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Union Titans are 24-0 heading into the state tournament. Photo by Mike Schultz

In all, 13 boys and girls basketball teams from the county have made it to their state tournaments.

The RPIs were locked for every team after this past Saturday’s games, and the brackets were determined Sunday by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Let’s break down a wild weekend of basketball, setting us up for state regionals, and then the dome.

And to take a look at all the brackets, go to the WIAA’s Tournament Central page here: http://wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=1145

Class 4A boys:

The best thing I saw this weekend: Union and Battle Ground playing for a 4A bi-district championship. Remember, including play-in games, this is a 19-team tournament, and only three come from the 4A Greater St. Helens League. It is believed this was the first time two teams from the GSHL made it to the finals. 

Union’s Josh Reznick skies high on his way to a dunk during the Titans’ win over Battle Ground on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union’s Josh Reznick skies high on his way to a dunk during the Titans’ win over Battle Ground on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

So tournament directors wisely chose to move the finals to Clark County. And it was a packed house at Prairie High School, a great atmosphere.

Tanner Toolson scored 32 points as Union improved to 24-0 and maintained its top seed going into the state tournament.

Union’s Tanner Toolson scored 32 points in Saturday’s bi-district championship victory. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union’s Tanner Toolson scored 32 points in Saturday’s bi-district championship victory. Photo by Mike Schultz

These two teams played down to the final horn in their second matchup in the regular season. This one was all Union after the first quarter.

The second-best thing I saw this weekend: Union senior guard Brad Lackey, who blew out a knee late in the regular season and will not be back this season, was given the honor to conclude the net-cutting ceremony. After every player and coach got up on the ladder, it was Lackey who was able to cut down the final piece of the bi-district net.

Brad Lackey, who is out for the season with a knee injury, was given the honor to cut down the final piece of the net after Union’s bi-district title Saturday at Prairie High School. Photo by Mike Schultz
Brad Lackey, who is out for the season with a knee injury, was given the honor to cut down the final piece of the net after Union’s bi-district title Saturday at Prairie High School. Photo by Mike Schultz

Next: 

The Union Titans, No. 1 in RPI, will play in a state regional seeding game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground High School against No. 8 Gonzaga Prep. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome on Thursday, March 5. The loser will fall into the round of 12 and will play an elimination game, also at the Tacoma Dome, on Wednesday, March 4.

The Battle Ground Tigers are No. 12 in RPI among the remaining teams. They get to host an elimination game in their district but are not allowed to play a true home game. So Battle Ground will face Inglemoor at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mark Morris High School in Longview. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 in the Tacoma Dome.

The power of Kaden Perry has helped Battle Ground make it to the state tournament, too. Photo by Mike Schultz
The power of Kaden Perry has helped Battle Ground make it to the state tournament, too. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Skyview Storm, meanwhile, lost this weekend to finish eighth in the bi-district tournament. Still, they had already qualified for state. Skyview, No. 11 in RPI, will play No. 14 Jackson at 4 p.m .Saturday at Battle Ground in an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 in the Tacoma Dome.

Class 4A girls:

Todd Beamer 45, Union 38: The Titans missed out on a bi-district championship, losing to Todd Beamer in the title game Saturday. 

No worries for the Titans. They’re going to state, and they get a second chance against Todd Beamer.

Next:
After all the numbers were crunched, Union came in at No. 7 in RPI and will travel to take on the No. 2 team in a seeding game at state regional. The No. 2 team? Oh, that would be Todd Beamer, the team the Titans just played on Saturday. The state regional game will be at 8 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview High School. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome on Thursday, March 5. The loser will fall into the round of 12 and will play an elimination game, also at the Tacoma Dome, on Wednesday, March 4.

Camas lost Saturday to finish eighth place in the bi-district but had already clinched a berth to state. The Papermakers, No. 14 in RPI, will face No. 11 Lake Stevens at 4 p.m. Saturday at Jackson High School. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Tacoma Dome. 

Class 3A boys: 

Wilson 81, Evergreen 66: The amazing bi-district run is over, but the season is certainly not over for Evergreen. The Plainsmen are going to the Tacoma Dome. 

Evergreen lost in the bi-district championship game on Saturday but had already clinched a trip to state, and the RPI means the Plainsmen can make plans for the dome.

Next:

Evergreen will play Garfield at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish High School. Evergreen is No. 5 and Garfield is No. 4. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome on Thursday, March 5. The loser will fall into the round of 12 and will play an elimination game, also at the Tacoma Dome, on Wednesday, March 4.

Class 3A girls:

Lincoln 51, Hudson’s Bay 46: It was a loss in the championship game of the bi-district for the Eagles, but they had already won big time. Remember, they had clinched a trip to state two games prior, and in the semifinals, the Eagles beat defending state champion Prairie. 

The third best thing I noticed all weekend: The 4A and 3A GSHL had representatives in all four bi-district championship games, boys and girls. That is believed to be a first for Southwest Washington. 

Next:

Hudson’s Bay, No. 14 in RPI, will travel to take on No. 11 Meadowdale at 6 p.m. Saturday at Issaquah High School. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Tacoma Dome. 

Prairie, meanwhile, lost the bi-district third-place game 51-50 to Bethel on Saturday. The Falcons are still going to the state tournament for the 23rd consecutive season.

Allow me to repeat that: The Falcons are going to the state tournament for the 23rd consecutive season.

Wow.

Anyway, Prairie is the 16-seed and will take on No. 9 Garfield at 4 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish High School. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Tacoma Dome. 

Class 2A boys:

Tumwater 63, Woodland 28: It is rare to see a running clock in a championship game, but that’s what happened. Simply put, Tumwater was on fire and Woodland had run out of steam after an incredible, improbable run to the district championship game. Woodland finished second in this tourney and qualified for state. Not bad for a team with a losing record before the postseason started.

Trey Hanson and the Woodland Beavers had a tough task Friday in the district championship game, falling to Tuwmater. But the Beavers are going to state, and that is a story in itself. Photo by Mike Schultz
Trey Hanson and the Woodland Beavers had a tough task Friday in the district championship game, falling to Tuwmater. But the Beavers are going to state, and that is a story in itself. Photo by Mike Schultz

Next: 

Not surprisingly, Woodland is the No. 16 seed. The Beavers don’t care. They’re still playing. Woodland will take on Black Hills at 6 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater High School. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. 

Class 2A girls: 

Tumwater 69, Washougal 37: The defending state champions missed out going back to state after falling in the consolation finals of the district tournament. Both teams were ranked in the top five but had been upset earlier and had to play each other in this elimination game. No teams from the 2A GSHL made it to state this year. 

Class 1A boys:

La Center 91, Seton Catholic 85: It was an all-Trico final for the district championship, and then these two programs put on an incredible show, with La Center prevailing in overtime. It was such a good game, no one would have minded seeing these two teams play again. In fact, the numbers played out that they would. However …

Next:

La Center finished as No. 10 in the RPI and Seton Catholic finished at No. 15. That’s a collision course, right? Well, not exactly. The WIAA’s guidelines say that if two teams from the same league play in state regional elimination games, well, the WIAA has the authority to make a change. 

That’s what happened here. Seton Catholic was moved to the No. 16 spot. 

(By the way, Battle Ground and Union did play in state regionals last year, but if you recall, that was not an elimination game. Just seeding.)

With that said, La Center will take on Bear Creek at 6 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground High School. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. 

Seton Catholic, at 16, will travel to face No. 9 La Salle at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eisenhower. This is an elimination game. Winner goes to the round of 12 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. 

Oh, and here is proof that the regular season does matter.

King’s Way Christian, the Trico League champion that had beat La Center and Seton Catholic twice each during the regular season but lost in the district tournament, ended up beating Forks on Saturday for the third and final berth to state.

The Knights are still ranked higher than La Center and Seton Catholic, and they are assured of going to Yakima.

King’s Way Christian, No. 7 in RPI, will play No. 2 Cashmere at 4 p.m. Saturday in Wenatchee. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals in the SunDome on Thursday, March 5. The loser will fall into the round of 12 and will play an elimination game, also at the SunDome, on Wednesday, March 4.

1A girls:

Montesano 52, La Center 35: In a tough-way-to-end-a-season story, La Center had to play a team it had already beat earlier in the district tournament. This time, Montesano bounced back for the victory in an elimination game. 

1B girls:Columbia Adventist of Battle Ground went 2-1 in its district tournament and beat Mary Knight 62-15 on Saturday to earn the final berth to state. Columbia Adventist, No. 14 in RPI, will face Lummi Nation at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon.

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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